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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Salad of Peppery and Bitter Greens with Sunchokes and Bacon

Late winter means arugula in our New Mexico garden and it also means chicory. We also grew a truck load of sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes). So this salad is as homegrown as a salad can be in February and March. Add bacon to the mix and it can hardly be beat.



While I'm at it, let me encourage you to give these tubers a try. They are indigenous to North America, easy to grow, and store for months in the refrigerator. They can be eaten raw or cooked. I've served them as soups, salads, and sides. (See note below about the only downside.)

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Salad of Peppery and Bitter Greens with Sunchokes and Bacon


Adapted from:  Dinner: A Love Story who in turn adapted it from a recipe from Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

6 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pd sunchokes
2 large handfuls of arugula
2 large handfuls of chicory greens or sliced radichio
1 sliced small sweet onion or red onion
Slivered parmesan cheese, to taste
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Start cooking the bacon in a 12-inch skillet. Remove when as crisp as you like and set aside. Boil the sunchokes in water until cooked but not mushy. Remove from pot, allow to cool until you can handle them and slice into 1/2-inch slices. Leave about a tablespoon bacon grease in the skillet and place sunchoke slices in and brown each side. Remove and set aside.

Cook the onion in what is left of the bacon grease. If needed add some olive oil. When the onions are softened return the sunchokes to the skillet and reheat.

In the meantime, tear the greens into a salad bowl. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over the greens and about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Taste to test for flavor and add more oil or vinegar. Toss the warm sunchokes and onions into the greens and top with the bacon and the parmesan cheese slivers.

Taste one more time for salt. I find the cheese and the bacon add seasoning so I don't add more but you might want to.

If you don't want to boil the sunchokes, you can roast them in the oven at 375F for about 45 minutes, turning once or twice.

Note:

Sunchokes contain inulin which can be difficult for some to digest. See this discussion of the issue. Some decide to skip sunchokes all together, but we  have found that Beano is helpful, as is eating them somewhat regularly. 


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